Despite criticism of Summit Rio 20+

The results of the Summit Rio 20+ (Conference on Sustainable Development) may seem a bit unclear and ineffective for public audience. But if we are able to encourage all key players to sit in one roundtable and mobilize them into a common discussion about the future of our planet – this can generate positive results on a global scale. The question is – how much time do we still need to be discussed (the theory) and finally transferred (the action) into practice …

Today I got few questions (the classic “food for thought”) from my foreign colleagues: Do you think that all these UN conferences have an impact? Is there an impact on our behavior and decision-making processes – of individuals, but also the governments? What was the impact of the Summit Rio 20+ (the Conference on Sustainable Development), which brought together the representatives of 103 countries? Reactions may vary – depending on your point of view. Instead of answers more and more questions appeared in my mind…

We can talk about the fundamental “slow burn” effect that if we can sit down in one round table with all the major players and mobilize them into a common discussion on global issues – this can lead to the achievement of results in the world. Everything just takes time. Question is: how much time to think, constantly meet and discuss do we still have… Climate change can not be ignored and more commitment to sustainable development is not an empty phrase (like many of you might think).


The lack of true global leaders?

A few months ago I was preparing an interview with Professor Mikulas Huba. He personally attended the Brazilian summit 20 years ago, so I wanted to know – how the situation has developed since then, what was changed. According to him, “the situation in most of the indicators more deteriorated than improved. What is the worst: the ability of the world community to agree on common solutions is less than what was at the time of the Rio Earth Summit 20 years ago.  We don’t want to share what we have with others – this is true about the individuals and also about the states.” And there is not enough of true global leaders, trusted authority such as Mother Teresa, Albert Schweitzer or Vaclav Havel …

When I made for myself small monitoring of the Slovak media – how much the outcome of Rio +20 Conference was presented and published, I realized – it was very little. One article from official Slovak press agency, called TASR appeared in the daily SME, which states: “the outcome of the conference Rio +20 is celebrated in advance, or bitterly criticized. Some of us are talking about some success, others on the sinking of the event. Many conference participants felt that Summit on Sustainable Development in Rio actually ended before it began.” Not very positive reportage…


Slovak public awareness about The Earth Summit Rio 20+

I mentioned Professor Mikulas Huba before (who is the guarantor of International Development Studies at Palacky University in Olomouc) is currently a Member of Slovak Parliament and Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Agriculture and the Environment. He was the initiator and main organizer of the event in the Slovak parliament – before actual start of the Rio +20 Summit (it was a meeting dedicated to the World environment day at the beginning of june.

It was actually a response to the general lack of interest in Slovakia on the Rio +20 Summit. Nobody knew: what was the composition of the Slovak delegation participated in it. The question is: Should a government delegation invite the representatives of the third sector, the expert community, people from universities? What can be the meaningful commitment of summit to implement in practice – posted by workers of the Ministry of Environment, who probably won’t be working there in few years? Because in Slovakia there is a custom – after every parliamentary elections whole personal staff of state institutions is completely changed (according to winners and losers of election). There are more questions than answers, I know.

One thing is certain: 20 years after the memorable Earth Summit Rio de Janeiro held another summit – Summit on Sustainable Development Rio 20+. The participation of Heads of UN member states (including key world leaders) was important. But it commits them to something? It commits us to do something? Did we fulfill enough commitments from past? Have we missed an unique opportunity to change something and we have to wait another 20 years until the next meeting? Enough “food for thoughts” for today?

Written by: Boba Baluchova (journalist, development education trainer)

About Media about Development

Writing hope-based stories and reporting about global challenges, international development topics, community development projects (in Slovak, Czech and English language)
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